DES MOINES, Iowa (8/29/11)--Dwolla, the online, social, mobile and location-based payment platform supported by The Members Group (TMG)--will release a new tool that will allow users to exchange funds with people and merchants in their proximity through their smartphones. Proxi, as the new tool is called, also allows users to exchange funds without the use of cards or near-field communication (NFC) technology. “Proxi represents a software solution to mobile payment’s current hardware problem,” said Dwolla Founder Ben Milne referring to near-field communication, a technology predicted to change the way consumers make point-of-sale transactions. “While we continue to be excited for more development in technologies like NFC, we’re not willing to take a wait-and-see approach. We’re enabling safe, affordable mobile payments right now.” Along with its peer-to-peer uses, Dwolla sees Proxi as a way for merchants to accept mobile payments without investing in additional hardware. Milne and his team said Proxi will become an invaluable tool for mobile merchants, such as farmer’s market vendors or taxi drivers. After launching Proxi on a smartphone, mobile merchants can broadcast their location, making themselves “visible” to other Proxi users within a specified radius and for a specified amount of time. For instance, a farmer’s market vendor may opt to make his booth visible to Dwolla users within five miles for one hour through Proxi. This will provide potential customers a real-time list of nearby Dwolla-accepting merchants. “We anticipate the addition of Proxi will encourage even more financial institutions to see Dwolla as a key to attracting Gen X and Gen Y,” said Brian Day, product development architect for TMG, the company distributing Dwolla to credit unions and community banks. “Members of the younger generation are drawn to the benefits of mobile payments, and the financial institutions who can give them a safe, affordable option will win customers for life.” TMG is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Affiliates Management Company, which is owned by Iowa credit unions and their members.